The Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association envisions a diverse and thriving Lower 9th Ward Community with recordsetting African American Homeownership rates.
Sgt. Cain Comes Home. Sargent Charles Cain (Ret.) served in Vietnam in 1969. When he came home, he worked at a shipyard as a crane operator and supervisor. But he was exposed to trauma and Agent Orange during his year in the jungle and, over time, his service-connected disabilities left him totally and permanently disabled.
Like so many others in the Lower 9th Ward, the home Sgt. Cain grew up in was destroyed when Army Corps of Engineers levees failed during Hurricane Katrina. Though he started to build a new home, when it was half-built he ran out of money. A discriminatory formula for disaster recovery funding had left Sgt. Cain without enough to rebuild. The L9WHA led the fight that changed the rules. With another $63,000 in his pocket, he finished construction and moved home a few months ago—after fourteen years of sheer determination.
No sooner did he get home, than every property in New Orleans was scheduled to be reassessed. As soon as the process began, we started seeing problems: inaccurate information being sent to homeowners—or none at all; wildly skewed values from house to house and
neighborhood to neighborhood; an entire wealthy section of town that was skipped over altogether. So we reviewed the property tax status of every one of the 276 households we have helped over the years and personally called everyone at risk.
But Will He Be Able To Stay Home? Sgt. Cain is one of the ones who received the call. Though his assessed value wasn’t too far off, we discovered that he had neither a Homestead Exemption nor an Age Freeze, both of which would make his real property taxes more affordable. Showing his usual determination, he immediately gathered all the necessary documents (including a new driver’s license) and we accompanied him to the Assessor’s Office to make sure he received the tax relief he’s entitled to. As a result, his real property taxes will be reduced—saving him almost $600 every year for the rest of his life. So yes, because of his own strength and the generosity of the caring people who support our work, Sgt. Cain will be able to stay in his home.